Marquette Men’s Soccer: Golden Eagles douse flames in shootout

Last Saturday marked the second time this spring the Marquette Golden Eagles played a team they lost to last fall, and for the second time this spring, that match finished tied after 90 minutes. This time though, Marquette came out victorious after a penalty shootout against Illinois-Chicago.

All five Golden Eagles made their penalties in the shootout, and redshirt freshman goalkeeper Charlie Lyon saved UIC’s first attempt to give Marquette the victory.

Starting goalkeeper David Check was out with an ankle issue, so Lyon stepped in and performed well. Coach Louis Bennett said the skills are there for Lyon to succeed — all he needs is to see action on the pitch.

“We know what (David) Check can do,” Bennett said. “We know Check has experience. The only thing that Charlie (Lyon) needs is a little bit more game experience. He’s been training really, really well.”

The game finished 1-1 after 90 minutes, with Marquette’s goal coming from junior forward Andy Huftalin. With freshman forward James “C.” Nortey out due to injury, Huftalin has played well as the team’s lone striker.

Huftlain is focused on showing the coaches what he can do for the team when he’s leading the teams’ attack.

“I think I’m starting to play well, but there are still things I need to tweak a little bit,” Huftalin said. “It’s basically just showing the coach that you can step into the role and help out the team in the way you can.”

Junior midfielder Anthony Selvaggi was one of five Marquette players to score a penalty in the shootout and felt his team was in control of the game.

Selvaggi said even though the Golden Eagles were doing a bit of experimenting in different positions during the game, they showed they were much different than when the two sides met in the fall.

“We definitely had the run of play,” Selvaggi said. “We tried new line-ups to see who could play with who, and I think, personally, we were the better team out there. We showed that we’re a different team than we were when we played them the first time.”

The most evident position battle in the team is in midfield, where junior Ryan Robb and sophomore Bryan Ciesiulka are looking for a new partner after Calum Mallace’s graduation.

Bennett isn’t just looking to fill specific holes, though. After the team’s injury problems in last fall’s non-conference season, depth became an issue. Bennett is looking to get as many players ready for game-action when the season starts next August.

“It would be an excuse of injuries, but it’s not like we didn’t have 11 players,” Bennett said. “We have to take the attitude of if we have 11 players, can we play? The reality of college soccer is that experience counts a lot.”

The Golden Eagles have three games coming up quickly, with the first on Wednesday at Loyola (Ill.). Then, Saturday night brings their annual alumni game, which is followed by a trip to Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Sunday.